HOT TOPIC: American Colonies
Volume 1, Issue 5 - October 3, 2004

"Some 400 years ago, the first communities of Englishmen landed on the shores of what would become the United States, setting up colonies which would change the entire complexion of the western hemisphere. While these colonies were founded by the English, Swedish, Dutch, German and Spanish settlers also made their mark on the east coast. For a century and a half these colonies developed and evolved as quilt work of cultural, political and religious influences, each patch maintaining its own identity within the larger pattern.

The impact each of these colonies had in forming a new nation is profound. While the northern colonies held closely to their religious and communal ties, the middle colonies thrived as centers of commerce and the southern colonies formed a huge agricultural economy. Together they formed common interests, such as trade and self-governance. Yet as a collective group, they dearly wanted to retain their separate identities and ideologies.

Perhaps most significant in the early development of our nation was the tension between those who favored strong centralized government and those who sought to preserve the sovereignty of each individual colony as it became a state. This delicate balance between state’s rights and the role of the federal government has continued to be negotiated over the course of our history. Indeed, the roots of many of our nations triumphs and struggles can be traced back to these original colonies going back 400 years.

As educators, we teach the history of these colonies, typically emphasizing events and individuals who embody the early effort to establish themselves on a new continent. It is reasonably easy to find text-heavy history sources online, published by researchers and professors. Finding resources which are more multimedia and interactive in design takes more digging. I hope you will agree that the collection of materials offered below meets the higher standard required of K-12 teachers working to bring history alive in their classrooms.

Here’s thirteen resources for the price of twelve! ....."

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